This weekend in the New York Times Style section, Jennifer Mendelsohn wrote, "Honey, Don't Bother Mommy. I'm Too Busy Building My Brand," a piece on mommy-bloggers. And while it was a teensy bit validating to read about how so many SAHMs are earning a little bit of extra cash by allowing advertisers on their blogs, I couldn't help but feel a little bit put-down by the article. Maybe it was the fact that Mendelsohn compares mom-blogs to the Tupperware parties of the 80s (which my mom went to and bought us cool stuff that she still uses today), but I left the article feeling somewhat sheepish about, well, this space right here, where I update weekly on the goings-on in the world of new parenthood. The article wasn't really that bad, but I got the distinct feeling from the tone of the piece that mom-blogs are seen as little more than a cutesy way for modern mothers to make themselves feel important.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who felt like I was just handed a backhanded compliment by this piece. Liz at Mom-101 wrote a fantastic response to Mendelsohn's piece, entitled, "Honey, Don't Bother Mommy. I'm Writing a Mildly Annoyed Letter to the New York Times."
And honey, I'm writing my own response here in my own little corner of public space on the Huffington Post.
I do not blog because I think that every little aspect of my life and my son's childhood is adorable/hilarious/praise-worthy/interesting. If I did think that, then I'd be posting every 10 minutes, not once a week.
I do not blog for money. I don't get paid for this. I don't get freebies or comps or ad revenue or trips or anything like that.
I do not blog because I'm lonely.
I do not blog because I'm bored.
I do not blog because I feel like my life is empty.
I do not blog because it's trendy.
I blog because just over a year ago at my sister-in-law's birthday party I ran into a friend who had been following my FaceBook updates since giving birth to the Princeling and thought they were hilarious. This friend happened to work for the Huffington Post and was looking for new bloggers. She asked if I'd like to blog about "Parenting in the Age of Obama." I said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I blog because sometimes the things I go through as a new mom are so baffling to me, so incredible, so disgusting or bizarre or sad or disappointing or upsetting that if I don't put a funny spin on them, then I don't know how I'd make it through the week.
I blog because I know I am not alone, and I want other moms to know they aren't alone, either.
I blog because I am not perfect, and my imperfectness is funny.
I blog because before I was a mother, before I was a wife, before I even went through puberty, I was a writer. I blog because I am still a writer. I enjoy writing fiction, and I enjoy the challenge of taking pieces of my real life and turning them into works of creative non-fiction that, I hope, are worth reading. I blog because my life is consumed by stories, by the written word, by reading and watching movies and turning everyday anecdotes into hilarious stories to tell my husband and brother and parents and friends. I was lucky enough to land a spot in a very public space where total strangers can read what I consider to be the most worthwhile stories I've woven out of the meshugas of my life. This blog happens to be about my life as a new mother because that's what I was asked to write about (the political aspect somehow having fallen by the wayside almost immediately), but I could just as easily fill this space with critical film analysis, or budget-minded healthy recipes, or musings on my life as a yoga/Pilates practitioner, or tales from the trenches of a fiction writer trying to get published, or thoughts on my personal spiritual beliefs, or wine reviews, or travel tales from the many, many places I've been to. But I choose to "blog" about mommyhood. Why should that be considered less-than? Why are mommies not taken seriously? Why is the hardest, most demanding, non-stop job in the world still considered fluff?
Yes, I write about my son. Does that mean my opinions are not worth listening to? Does that make my voice unimportant? Is my space here on the Huffington Post just one tiny drop in a sea of millions, to be swept away by a tide of dismissive cynics?
In Madonna's song, "What It Feels Like For a Girl," she sings the lyrics that girls and women have been told all our lives, subtly and sometimes directly, "When you open up your mouth to speak, could you be a little weak?" Why shouldn't mothers have something to say, and why should we talk ourselves down from saying it? Aren't we the first lines of defense for our children and families? Aren't we the ones who carry our children inside our bodies and get the hormone injections and invasive procedures and drive ourselves crazy with the adoption process?
Are all of us mommy-bloggers just chattering away nonsense into an empty void of space where no one wants to listen to us?
Or are we onto something here? With so many mothers turning to new technology to speak out and speak up and connect and share, could we, maybe, finally, be finding our voices - not only as mothers, but as women and - gasp! - people? People with something important to say?